Commerce Committee passes bipartisan legislation designating a 3-digit national suicide prevention hotline and improving air traffic control staffing across Arizona
WASHINGTON – Two pieces of bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cleared the Commerce Committee today. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which designates “988” as a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline, and CONTRACT Act, which improves air traffic control staffing, passed the Commerce Committee with bipartisan support.
“We’re working across the aisle to strengthen support for Arizonans in need and keep America’s air space the safest in the world,” said Sinema.
The Sinema-backed National Suicide Hotline Designation Act designates a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline, including a Veterans Crisis Line for veteran-specific mental health support. The existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (reachable at 1-800-273-8255) answers over 2 million crises annually, but the new easy-to-remember 988 number will be able to save more lives. The bill also ensures the 988 number and call centers have the necessary resources.
The Sinema-backed CONTRACT Act improves air traffic control staffing at Arizona airports with contract towers. The bill makes it easier for contract towers to hire experienced FAA air traffic controllers. Contract towers are air traffic control towers staffed by employees of private companies rather than by FAA employees, and are an important part of our national air traffic control system—serving communities through a proven public-private partnership that increases safety and improves air traffic control services, while lowering the cost to the federal government. Arizona has seven contract towers that would benefit from this legislation in Chandler, Flagstaff-Pulliam, Glendale, Goodyear, Laughlin/Bullhead International, Phoenix Mesa Gateway, and Ryan Field.